SHE'S been overwhelmingly voted the best ruck in the competition by her peers, but we won't see Lauren Pearce on the field for the first few weeks of the NAB AFLW competition.
Womens.afl conducted an exclusive survey among 14 players – one from every club – to find out who they regard as the best of the best.
Pearce – who "won" the vote with seven – will be sidelined for around a month of the season itself after undergoing knee surgery in December to repair unstable cartilage.
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The 26-year-old was named in the Virgin Australia AFLW All Australian team for the first time in 2019 and subsequently won the VFLW best and fairest while playing for Darebin.
"Lauren Pearce for mine, I think it [was emphasised by] her VFLW best and fairest win," one respondent said.
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It's not just her tap work that sets her apart, but her strength in the contest when the ball is at ground level; she is often described as an "extra midfielder" by the Demons.
Pearce averaged 20 hitouts, 13 disposals and two marks over her seven matches in 2019.
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North Melbourne's Emma King came in second with three votes, while Carlton duo Breann Moody and Alison Downie and Giant Erin McKinnon all picked up a nomination.
Fremantle draftee Mim Strom even got a mention despite having not yet played an AFLW game.
7 - Lauren Pearce (Melbourne)
3 - Emma King (North Melbourne)
1 - Breann Moody (Carlton), Alison Downie (Carlton), Mim Strom (Fremantle), Erin McKinnon (GWS)
This is part of a series which saw 14 players – one from every club – surveyed anonymously about who they regard as the best in the competition. Check back to womens.afl as more answers are revealed over the coming days.